Barmah-Millewa National Park

Indigenous Australia
60000 Years  Indigenous Australia

The Yorta Yorta Nation- origins and connections

The Yorta Yorta Nation traces its origins back to the time of creation which has become immortalised as the ‘eternal Dreaming’. It was during this period that traditional based rights to land, heritage, water and cultural identity were sanctified and, like the river systems, continue to flow to the Yorta Yorta people as inherent rights. The extensive river networks served as major focal points for community life. Archaeological evidence indicates that there have always been natural and cultural changes taking place, from which adaption and cultural continuity have been the outcomes. The arrival of Europeans, however, has intensified  the extent of change, but the Yorta Yorta have adapted and continue to flourish as a vibrant living culture. They totally reject the notion that their connections have been washed away by ‘tide of history’ euphamisms and reassert their position as the traditional occupants and owners of the lands inherited from their ancestors. Reconciling the unfinished business of land justice and reaching a position of real effective and genuine reconciliation, together with the search for common ground in the creation and management of the Barmah-Millewa National Park Wetlands, are the challenges that confront all parties in the region. 


Barmah-Millewa Forest-Wetlands 

The Barmah-Millewa Forest Wetlands  is a natural and cultural landscape of unique Red Gum Forest Wetlands. Indeed they are of profound National and International importance and are located in the heartland of Yorta Yorta traditional lands-see map on site. These forest wetlands are now being replenished by the significant rainfalls that have fallen during the winter which will provide a lifeline for the red gums and their survival of the drought that has had lasted the last decade of more. More detail will be added on land and water based issues and their importance to the Yorta Yorta on this site.

Students participating in the course get an opportunity to visit some of the key sites and learn of the antiquity of Yorta Yorta connections with the ancestral lands which is estimated to be at least 60,000 years.   

Traditional Fishing in Bark Canoes on the Murray (Dhungulla) at the Old Maloga Mission, 1870s

Once a timeline of Yorta Yorta occupation is established students are then introduced to the diversity of programs and service delivery organisations that operate in the region. This helps students gain a deeper  insight into the roles and functions of community based organisations and the multitude of programs that they deliver in 21st Century  Indigenous  Affairs policy and administration not to mention the difficulties that organisations face in maintaining these programs in regional Australia.

Yorta Yorta campaign for Land Justice, Federal Court, 2004

Different Approach to Learning

The course is unique in  its teaching content and style. It  utilises much of the knowledge  and storylines of Yorta Yorta  History and Culture which includes Oral knowledge which is supplemented by the disciplines of Archaeology, History, Politics, and Legal studies. The main issues that it focuses on are Indigenous rights based issues, including land, water, cultural heritage, natural resource management,  and environmental issues.

 Forest Wetlands and River Based People


Being a river based people the Yorta Yorta storylines of their connection with the wetlands will be a key feature of this  site. Images of the  magnificent wetlands when they are being replenished by the rains in the uplands and the wildlife that depend on these wetlands for natural breeding and resting habitat will be  some of  the features.   This will be complimented by materials from  Yorta Yorta including some of the oral knowledge that will be used to add a narrative style to the storylines.As the creater and Coordinator of the Word Press site I welcome those who may be interested in finding out more about the Course and Yorta Yorta connections and to enjoy the materials provided.

Gaka Yawall Ngulla Yenbena Yorta Yorta Woka: Come walk with us the people on Yorta Yorta country


Dr Wayne Atkinson-Yorta Yorta Elder
Senior Fellow, School of Social & Political Science
University of Melbourne





3 Responses to Barmah-Millewa National Park

  1. Ian Macdonald says:

    I would like to have a copy of the Indigenous Australia map. How can I get a digital or hard copy?

    • waynera says:

      Thanks Ian dont know whether your the same Ian Macdonald I know from Echuca. You can get the map by doing a google search online which will take you to sites where the maps are located. You then need to acknowledge the source of the image for Intellectual Cultural Property protocols if your going to use for public purposes. Good Luck Cheers Wayne

  2. waynera says:

    Gulpa Gaka anganya -Gaka Yawall Ngulla Yenbena Yorta Yorta Woka
    Welcome friend come and walk with us the people of Yorta Yorta Woka Country, Traditional Sovereign Owners welcome you to Country and the Barmah National Park

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